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Michael Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael Jerry Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Michael Caterina, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Solomon H. Snyder Professor
  • Professor of Neurosurgery

Research Interests

TRP channel function in thermosensation, pain and inflammation

Background

Michael Caterina, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of neurosurgery, biological chemistry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a sensory neurobiologist with a focus on the molecular basis of pain sensation.

Dr. Caterina and his colleagues discovered the first heat-gated ion channel — the capsaicin receptor TRPV1 — and demonstrated that this protein is critical for the detection of painfully hot temperatures and for the augmented sensitivity to heat pain that follows tissue inflammation.

He is the inaugural director of the Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute and the interim director of the Department of Biological Chemistry.

Current topics of interest in his lab at Johns Hopkins include: mechanisms underlying pain in hereditary skin diseases, cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuropathic pain and contributions of transient receptor potential channels to pain.

Dr. Caterina earned his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, and then M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed a fellowship in cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, and joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999.

Dr. Caterina’s work has been recognized with national and international awards, including the Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain in 2005 and the Donlin M. Long Pain Service Award from the Johns Hopkins Blaustein Treatment Center pain research program in 2013.

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Titles

  • Solomon H. Snyder Professor
  • Director, Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute
  • Interim Director, Department of Biological Chemistry
  • Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Professor of Biological Chemistry
  • Professor of Neuroscience

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes

Education

Degrees

  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1995)
  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland) (1995)

Additional Training

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 1999, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Pain Sensation

Dr. Caterina and his team focus on dissecting mechanisms that underlie acute and pathological pain sensation. One topic of study is the identification of mechanisms underlying pain in a diverse collection of rare hereditary skin conditions known as palmoplantar keratodermas. These conditions, characterized by epidermal thickening on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, exhibit variable prevalence of pain that can significantly impact quality of life. Another area of focus is the role of RNA binding proteins as regulators of the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. A third effort involves defining the diversity of neuronal and nonneuronal cell types that contribute to the development and manifestation of neuropathic pain. Finally, the lab studies the biological functions of a group of heat-gated ion channel proteins in the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) family, particularly as they relate to pain. These projects involve a wide array of technological approaches that include behavioral assays, in vitro and in vivo imaging and electrophysiology, neuroanatomical studies, and molecular analysis of sensory neurons and skin.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Neuronal FcγRI mediates acute and chronic joint pain. Wang L, Jiang X, Zheng Q, Jeon SM, Chen T, Liu Y, Kulaga H, Reed R, Dong X, Caterina MJ, Qu L. J Clin Invest. 2019 Jun 18;130. pii: 128010. doi: 10.1172/JCI128010. PMID:31211699

Pain Mechanisms in Hereditary Palmoplantar Keratodermas. Weinberg RL, Coulombe PA, Polydefkis M, Caterina MJ. Br J Dermatol. 2019 Mar 18. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:30883689

Molecular basis of peripheral innocuous warmth sensitivity. Jeon S, Caterina MJ. Handb Clin Neurol. 2018;156:69-82. PMID:30454610

Accelerating the reversal of inflammatory pain with NPD1 and its receptor GPR37. Qu L, Caterina MJ. J Clin Invest. 2018 Aug 1;128(8):3246-3249. doi: 10.1172/JCI122203. Epub 2018 Jul 16. PMID:30010628

Peripheral neuropathic changes in pachyonychia congenita. Pan B, Byrnes K, Schwartz M, Hansen CD, Campbell CM, Krupiczojc M, Caterina MJ, Polydefkis M. Pain. 2016 Dec;157(12):2843-2853. PMID:27776012

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins University
725 North Wolfe St.
Biophysics 408
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-502-5457

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry

Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology

Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Donlin M. Long Pain Service Award, Blaustein Pain Treatment Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Cancer Society, 1996 - 1999
  • Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award, International Association for the Study of Pain, 2005
  • Freedman Award Honorable Mention, NARSAD, 2001
  • Young Investigator Award, National Alliance For Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, 1996 - 1998
  • Evan Pugh Scholar, The Pennsylvania State University, 1987
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, U.C.S.F. Cardiovascular Research Institute, 1995 - 1996
  • Keith Killam Memorial Award in Receptor Pharmacology, Western Pharmacology Society, 2000
  • Medical Scientist Training Program Grant, NIH, 1987 - 1995
  • McGraw Hill Publishing Medical Student Award, 1988
  • Lange Publishing Medical Student Award, 1988
  • Franklin Paine Mall Award in Anatomy and Cell Biology, 1988
  • Medical Honor Society, Alpha Omega Alpha, 1995
  • Medical Student Award, Gate Pharmaceuticals, 1995
  • Searle Scholars Program, 2001
  • Beckman Young Investigator, 2001
  • Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research, W. M. Keck Foundation, 2001
  • Professor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2008
  • Inaugural Solomon H. Snyder Professor of Neurosurgery, 2014
  • Julius B. Kahn Lectureship Guest Speaker, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 2015
  • Louisville Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, Plenary Speaker, 2017
  • John J. Bonica Award, Eastern Pain Association, 2019

Memberships

  • Society for Neuroscience, 2001
    Member
  • International Association for the Study of Pain, 2002

    Member

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Neuroscience, 2007
  • Deputy Editor, Molecular Pain, 2005
  • Editorial Board, Neurobiology of Pain, 2016
  • Co-Director, Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2003
  • Admissions Committee, M.D. Ph.D. Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2004
  • Admissions Committee, Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2000
  • Admissions Committee, Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2017
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Hydra Biosciences, 2005
  • Member, Center for Sensory Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2006
  • Member, Professorial Promotions Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2013
  • Director, Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2013
  • Advisory Board, Thompson Family Foundation Initiative, 2017
  • Interim Director, Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2018

Videos & Media

Hot and Spicy, Part I

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part II

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part III

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Hot and Spicy, Part IV

Michael Caterina discusses how we sense pain and why chili peppers burn.

Michael Caterina - The History of the TRP Channel

Johns Hopkins scientist Michael Caterina tells about the history of the TRP channel.

Doorways to Discovery: Neurosurgical Pain Research Institute-To Control, Prevent, and Eliminate Pain

Michael Caterina M.D., Ph.D., and Allan Belzberg, M.D., co-directors of The Neurosurgery Pain Research Institute at Johns Hopkins To control, prevent, and eliminate pain, discuss research initiates underway of neurosurgical-related pain including translational research with DREZ lesions and how nociceptors process pain.

Lectures and Presentations

  • European Neuroscience Association Satellite Meeting on Peripheral Mechanisms of Pain Sensation, Berlin, Germany (07/01/1998)
  • Japanese Biochemical Society Annual Meeting, Nagoya, Japan (10/01/1998)
  • American Pain Society Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA (11/01/1998)
  • Ion channels in Nociception Meeting, San Francisco, CA (01/01/1999)
  • Duke University Department of Cell Biology, Durham, NC (01/01/1999)
  • University of Wisconsin Department of Physiology, Madison, WI (01/01/1999)
  • Harvard Medical School Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Boston, MA (01/01/1999)
  • Harvard University Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cambridge, MA (01/01/1999)
  • University of Chicago Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences, Chicago, IL (01/01/1999)
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Biological Chemistry, Baltimore, MD (01/01/1999)
  • Ohio State University Department of Neuroscience, Columbus, OH (01/01/1999)
  • As Assistant Professor Pulmonary Research Service, Baltimore, MD (02/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Blaustein Pain Research Center, Baltimore, MD (02/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Baltimore, MD (11/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Baltimore, MD (04/01/2000)
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Spring Pain Research Conference, Cayman Islands (05/01/2000)
  • Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ (07/01/2000)
  • American Pain Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA (10/01/2000)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Collaborating to Control, Prevent and Eliminate Pain, Doorways to Discovery (November 2014)

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